The Best Access Platforms for Your Business


access platforms for businessWhether you’re a large company, such as Tesco or Morrisons, or you’re a smaller business offering access solutions, the chances are that you will need an access platform in order to perform key jobs. Whether you need the platform to reach tall spaces in warehouses or for window cleaning, lamppost repairs and architecture work, an access platform allows you to access spaces with ease.

Access Platforms are used to perform work on the side of buildings, to reach tall spaces, or to perform key repairs on construction items. Easily transported and accessible, many platforms are used by the emergency services, and can be both set up and operated by a single person.  Unlike cranes, Access Platforms are used to ensure maximum mobility, meaning that they can be transported up and down the country when they are needed.

Unpowered Access Platforms

For those with the need for unpowered access platforms, those priced at the lower end of the spectrum are perfect, especially for smaller businesses. Easily assembled and used for when you need to reach aerial spaces, these platforms can be found in business around the UK – and are the most common. Usually small, you can still buy unpowered access platforms that can be used as scaffolding, to assemble against buildings, and platforms that can be used for professional services.

Self Propelled Access Platforms

These access platforms come with wheels and can be driven into position when needed. Some of these platforms can also move when in operation, which is great for those operating on the move, such as window cleaners and billboard workers. When using these platforms, you will need to be IPAF Trained.

Vehicle-Mounted Access Platforms

Some platforms can be found mounted on the back of trucks, lorries and other large vehicles. These are usually the platforms most likened to cranes, and the vehicle aims to support the platform when it is in use. These types of access platforms are mostly used by those in the repair industry, such as road maintenance teams.


Things to Consider Before Hiring a Cherry Picker

So you are working on a project that requires you to have access at different heights. So you consider hiring a cherry picker.

However, before jumping on the phone for the nearest access equipment rental company, there are a few things that you will need to consider.

Cherry Pickers are a fantastic alternative to erecting scaffolding to a building in order to be able to work at heights. But you need to make sure that the vehicle that you choose is suitable for the job.

There is no point hiring a a super boom lift that can reach 50ft if you are only replacing fascias on a shop front.

Given the level and complexity of the job you are carrying out there are specific access equipment for the task you need them for.

Low Level Access

If you are working between 5ft-25ft a scissor lift would probably be suitable for the job. This would include, signage installation, painting, window cleaning e.t.c.

Scissor Lifts are perfect if you just need a little extra height to make it comfortable for you to work.

Medium Level Access

Cherry Pickers are perfect if you need a vehicle to reach a bit higher than you low level access jobs. Depending on the size of the cherry picker you may need to contact the DVLA (  to see if your standard driving license covers you to work with such a vehicle.

Cherry pickers are the perfect vehicles for working on medium to high level projects including, street lights, window cleaning for medium level flats e.t.c.

High Level Access

Super Boom Lifts would be the vehicle of choice if you are looking to work ate very high heights, including tall office buildings and power lines.

Super Boom Lifts require a special IPAF licence in order to operate these for projects. You will also need to take out specific insurance for the time you are working on the project.


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IPAF Training Courses

Over 70% of workplace accidents are the result of working at height, so it is extremely important when working at height that proper health and safety procedures are observed. To help make sure more people go to work armed with the right training and qualifications, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) provide a wide variety of courses to promote the use of powered access machinery across the world.

These courses usually mix theory and practical skill training to provide industry best practice. They specialise in training operators in the specifics of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, how to avoid accidents, and use the machinery in an emergency. They offer this training to both employers and employees.

We’ve made a list of the most popular IPAF courses, what they involve, and what you can expect to take away from them.

IPAF Operator CourseIPAF Training

This course is designed to cover the operators of scissor lifts and cherry pickers, and is therefore one of the most popular courses – these are the most commonly used powered access machines in the public sphere.

The course instructs operators in how to use machine categories 3a, 1b and 3b properly and safely, and those taking the course can choose to learn how to operate any combination of these machine types – or all of them in one sitting. The course ends with a practical exam, and successful candidates will be awarded the IPAF PAL Card and certificate. This is an internationally recognised qualification and will be valid for the next five years.

IPAF PAL And Training Course

This course takes only one day, and is specifically aimed at those who can already operate machinery under standard conditions, and want to learn how to work in challenging environments such as enclosed spaces, on rough terrain or in industrial areas.

A PAL Card is required to apply, as this course focuses less on basic skills and far more on complex practical training.

Completing this course will allow you to safely operate Static Boom (1b+), Mobile Boom (3b+) and Mobile Vertical (3a+), and your PAL card will be upgraded to reflect this.IPAF Scissor Lift

IPAF Demonstrator Course

This is a very popular course for those who operate MEWPs (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) like Cherry Pickers and Scissor Lifts , and can be taught as a two-machine course or a more expensive 3-machine course, with the option of counting towards a Driver CPC as well. The course aims to familiarise students with the operational procedures and quirks of each type of MEWP.


IPAF MEWPs For Managers

IPAF Training Courses are also available for managers – in particular, this one-day course that instructs site managers how to properly deal with employees using MEWPs. Since it is aimed at management, it doesn’t focus on how to operate the machinery, and instead covers planning and overseeing sites in which MEWPs are in use.

You will see in the image on the right, is a scissor lift assisting with a butterfly valve installation.

It is also possible to take courses with IPAF that cover things like inspection and use of harnesses and safety gear, loading and unloading machinery to transport it safely, and a course concerning “Push Around” vehicles (non-self-propelled machines, previously categorised as Machine Category 1a vehicles).

Equipment You’ll Need For a Self Build

Building your own home from scratch can be a very fulfilling and exciting undertaking. Not only does it allow you to create the home of your dreams from the ground up; you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’re living in something you built. The journey of building canself-build also be an invaluable learning experience in itself.

But if a home build is something you’re seriously considering, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Once you’ve got got planning permission sorted; have designed your abode and mapped out a budget, its time to start thinking about what equipment you’ll need.

Either you or the construction engineer in charge of your self-build will be responsible for ordering equipment and ensuring it is delivered on time for the start of each stage. You or he/she will have contacts to many of the major wholesalers and manufacturers throughout the UK and should negotiate with these to maintain a smooth building process.

Here are some of the main types of equipment you’re likely to need.


During the pre-construction phase, you’ll need to think about fencing off the worksite area to keep the public safe and keep materials protected from theft. Types of fencing available include typical iron scaffolding; bollards; balustrades; galvanized railings; fencing timber and pedestrian guardrail.

Excavation Plant

If you have hired a construction company to take care of your self-build, they will most probably use their own plant for excavating any pre-existing groundwork. Otherwise, you will need to hire a digger, piling rig, auger or trench support, along with a qualified operator,

Speak to your engineer before making any hiring decisions and always make sure your chosen company’s operators possess the correct qualification for their job.

Access Equipment

As the build project develops and progresses, access equipment will be essential for allowing workers to reach every part of the growing building. This will be particularly important for stages like second storey flooring, roofing, window-fitting and any additional extras such as solar paneling.

Mobile elevated access platforms (MEWPs) come in a variety of models and sizes, each one suited to different tasks. These are outlined briefly below.

van-mounted-mewpTruck/Van-Mounted MEWPs

Truck or van-mounted MEWPs are able to be mounted onto the back of such vehicles for easy transportation and movement. They are the known for being the easiest MEWPs to use (though all operators must have at least a standard license for the weight of MEWP they are driving).

Cherry pickers (also known as ‘bucket trucks’) are one such type of access platform, often used for reaching very high places in construction; cable/telephone/tv repair; painting and mining. They are commonly used in self-build projects for their ease of utility.

Narrow Tracked Access Platforms

These are also known as spider lifts or mini-cranes, and are ideal for reaching tight places where a regular MEWP cannot reach. They are relatively lightweight, making them able to drive over low load-bearing or unstable flooring that is yet to be reinforced. (These include tiles; mezzanines; wooden surfaces or raised walkways.)

Thanks to their incredibly compact dimensions, they are able to fit through a standard 0.8m x 2m double door, making them handy for self-build projects.

Self Propelled Boomsself-build-tips

Self-propelled booms are popular for their ability to maneuver themselves around the work-site unassisted. They are particularly helpful in a self-build situation, where there is likely to be several smaller operations going on at once.

Self propelled booms can reach up to 47 meters (or 10 meters in the case of mast booms) and are available in both diesel and battery powered variations.

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